2012 NFL Mock Draft: Who Will the New England Patriots Draft in Round One?

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIApril 23, 2012

EL PASO, TX - DECEMBER 30:  Safety Harrison Smith #22 celebrates a pass interception with Robert Blanton #12 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during play against the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Bowl on December 30, 2010 in El Paso, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Heading into the 2012 NFL draft, the New England Patriots sit pretty, like always, with two picks in the first round—picks No. 27 and No. 31. 

The reigning AFC champions may have been the best team in their conference a year ago, but they still have a ton of needs to address, starting with their secondary. 

With that being said, who will the Patriots draft with those two selections? (Assuming that they don't trade out of any, which is a definite possibility.)


No. 27: Harrison Smith, Strong Safety, Notre Dame

With this selection, the New England Patriots add some much-needed depth into their abysmal secondary.

Harrison would likely jump in as the team's starting strong safety in 2012, as he's an incredibly smart player that has all the makings of emerging into a defensive captain. 

Smith has ideal size, as he stands in at 6'1" and weighs 212 lbs. and is extremely effective in run support and plays very physical—he loves to lay down the lumber. 

As for playing against the pass, he possesses great ball skills and is athletic enough to match up against opposing tight ends.


No. 31: Devon Still, Defensive Linemen, Penn State

Penn State's Devon Still possesses the ideal size for an NFL defensive linemen and has a ton of upside and potential. 

Still is versatile enough to play in either the 4-3 or the 3-4 at any position in those systems—which is very valuable for the Patriots, as Bill Belichick has shown that they'll play in either of those defenses.

All in all, Still is solid against the pass and very effective against the run and would be a very wise decision for New England at this point of the draft.


Tony Santorsa's 2012 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck

2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil

4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne

6. St. Louis Rams: Fletcher Cox

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram

8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill

9. Carolina Panthers: Justin Blackmon

10. Buffalo Bills: Michael Floyd

11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro

12. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly

13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin

14. Dallas Cowboys: Quinton Coples

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers

16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw

17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick

18. San Diego Chargers: Cordy Glenn

19. Chicago Bears: Nick Perry

20. Tennessee Titans: Stephon Gilmore

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Peter Konz

22. Cleveland Browns: Kendall Wright

23. Detroit Lions: Riley Reiff

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Adams

25. Denver Broncos: Dontari Poe

26. Houston Texans: Whitney Mercilus 

27. New England Patriots: Harrison Smith

28. Green Bay Packers: Jerel Worthy

29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower

30. San Francisco 49ers: Coby Fleener

31. New England Patriots: Devon Still 

32. New York Giants: Zach Brown


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